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I spent some good quality time last night reading one of my NRSVs. I read 5 or 6 chapters of Mark, along with a few other stops here and there, and I will probably read some more in it tonight. I was using my NOAB from Oxford, a cloth hardcover, reading quickly, not checking notes or studying, but just reading and getting a feel for the translation. I was doing the same with a copy of the ESV as well, comparing them for feel, not for details. Of course, while both translations grew out of the old RSV, the ESV retains a “traditional” feel, while the NRSV is more contemporary and arguably easier to read.

But that’s not what I really want to write about in this post. What is bothering me is that, now that I am really interested in buying myself a relatively nice, yet inexpensive, copy of the NRSV, I am finding it very difficult finding one I really want.

So here’s what I would like: I want large print (9.5-11 pt); a nice, soft, yet durable leather or leather-like cover and gilded page edging; cross-references and translator’s notes preferably in a center-column between two columns of text.

I don’t want text that is smaller than 9 pt. I don’t want a hardcover. I don’t want leather-like over hardboards. I don’t want a pretty, multi-colored cover. I don’t want reference notes at the end of the paragraph. I don’t want liberal/progressive study notes and articles/introductions. I don’t want red letters. And I don’t want the Apocrypha.

Now that shouldn’t be too much to ask, should it? I can get several ESVs that fit the bill perfectly, to say nothing of many other translations. So why is it so hard for Harper-Collins, Harper-San Francisco, or whoever they are, to give us such a Bible?

It wasn’t long ago there was a nice NRSV Bible available from Cokesbury, with a genuine leather cover and gold gilded edges, for around $35. But then, it only had 8 pt. type. It was too small for me to read comfortably, so why should I spend hard-earned money on that?

Hendrickson Publishers right now has a NRSV Deluxe Gift and Award Bible with about 9 pt. text, a nice leatherlike cover that’s not overly gaudy, and it’s very inexpensive. But it contains the Apocrypha, and is not available without it. I could probably live with it, but why should I?

I have come to really like the NRSV, in spite of who commissioned it. Since it is the unofficial “official” translation of the UMC and my local church, it would be nice to have one like I described, to carry to church and use.

Come on, NRSV publishers. Think about those of us with less than 20/20 eyesight, are conservative and traditional, and don’t want or need the Apocrypha. How about a Bible that would fit my bill?

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